Bullitt Racing today (30 July 2023) secured its best result to date in Fanatec GT World Challenge Endurance Cup, taking the chequered flag with the #33 Aston Martin Vantage fourth in the Silver Cup class, 30th overall after three hours of frantic green flag action at the Nurburgring.
The penultimate round of the series brought heavy rain and glimpses of sunshine, but the race was dry following a wet qualifying session on Sunday morning. The trio of Silver-graded racers – Romain Leroux, Jeff Kingsley and Jacob Riegel – all produced strong drives to move from seventh on the grid to a fighting fourth at the end, underlining the continual gains made throughout the season.
The Spanish squad worked through the paid test sessions and free practice sessions ahead of qualifying. Romain undoubtedly had the most challenging task as the heavens opened just ahead of his 15-minute session.
While some hit trouble, he impressed with the second fastest time. Next up was Jeff, in more conventional wet conditions, while a dry line was forming as Jabob took to the circuit to set the fifth-best time in the class.
Starting seventh, Romain found himself in a Silver sandwich early on but was soon able to make progress as he passed the #56 on track with the #26 Audi close behind. The latter battle would continue for much of the race as he worked his way to P5 at the end of his stint.
Jeff was next up and mighty quick too on the fresh Pirellis out of the box. His initial gains were compromised as the #26 used a long first stint to gain track position, and then the Canadian racer got caught up behind the #31 WRT entry. Once clear on lap 50, he pulled a margin before pitting eight laps later.
Jacob was charged with the third and final stint, quickly recording the best lap of the race and resuming the race with the #26.
Having passed traffic, he closed in and made the move for what would become fourth position on lap 72. Caught out slightly with the Audi slowing somewhat unexpectedly at turn three, there was light contact, but the pass was completed.
From that point, it was a case of ensuring the finish, albeit with a five-second time penalty for that contact. He duly completed the 91st and final lap to take the chequered flag.
The result underlines the ongoing gains the Bullitt Racing team are making in a very competitive race environment. The final race of the season takes place in Barcelona in late September, and it would be most fitting to wrap up the season with some Silverware on home turf.
Steffan Pattrick, Team Manager
“It’s been action-packed and a positive experience for us here at the Nurburgring. It was our first race with a GT3 at this circuit, so there was a learning curve for the drivers and team. I’m happy with the gains made, despite the weather being challenging at times, and we also showed that we could adapt well to that changing environment.
“Qualifying was tough with the track evolving so quickly, but nonetheless, the drivers did a good job for P7 on the grid. The race was a lot better, mostly clean, and they did a great job in being aggressive and taking the fight to the sharp end in Silver Cup. P4 here certainly motivates us for our home race in Barcelona – something we are all hungry for – to perform as best as we can and to finish the GT World Challenge season on a high.”
“The start was intense; it’s a three-hour race and not a 24! I was able to gain positions in my stint, so I am happy about that. We lost a little time with a slow puncture, which made life a little complicated, but we were able to complete the stint length without an additional stop.
“Our pace this weekend has been good, so it’s good to capitalise on that. The next stop must be a podium in Barcelona, and we’re getting closer to that by the race.”
“I had good pace in my stint until I caught traffic, the #31 BMW ahead. I got a little stuck there as the car always handles differently up close behind another car. Once I got by, there was a gap ahead, and we could make some progress.
“I’m happy with the result for the team; we made some good steps forward in this round. Obviously happy with P4, but still, it’s just one spot away from a podium! One more position, and that’s the goal now for the final round.”
“Best result of the year. I stepped into the car P6 and finished P4, and it’s nice to be in the top 30 overall. It’s tough not to be on the podium, it was close, but there’s still one race to go. Yes, there was a little contact [in the late race pass for the position] and some slight damage to the front, but for me, the stint was mostly about managing my pace, the tyres and being consistent.
“I’m proud of the team; we’ve really improved our pitstops. They all worked hard, and now we all look forward to the final round in Barcelona.”